MTS IS THE WRONG NAME

MTS IS THE WRONG NAME

Joseph Miniace, president of the Pacific Maritime Association, made a very intuitive statement recently in JoC Week's Annual Review and Outlook Special quoting Niccolo Machiavelli: 'There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order.' Machiavelli used his beliefs, such as the quote above, in his efforts to motivate Lorenzo the Magnificent to unite Italy. These same beliefs should be used by the maritime sector as mo-tivation to advance the marine transportation system (MTS) initiative.

As Douglas Tilden, president and chief of Marine Terminals Corp., stated recently, 'We must bring industry constituents closer together in order to improve communication and understanding of the needs of the marine transportation system. The status quo will not do.' Only through inclusive alliances between industry, federal, state, and local governments can this initiative move forward with success. Some have criticized the MTS initiative for being too broad to be effective. Can one single agency make MTS successful? Shouldn't we build alliances between all U.S DOT agencies and industry?

The MTS involves such a large portion of our country's economic growth and prosperity; building alliances is the only way to be successful. Efforts can be made at the local and regional levels to promote MTS, involve our legislators, and include the federal and state agencies that traditionally fund transportation infrastructure, such as highways and rail.

All modes must be included in order to make the entire intermodal transportation system (ITS) successful with the capability to meet the projected demand that results in a doubling of trade by 2020.

Shouldn't we also rename the MTS to ITS to include all modes, both politically and by perception? Why should highway, transit, and rail industries along with the associated government agencies get involved in MTS if, by simple virtue of the name, they are excluded?

This may seem simple-minded but, in the big scheme of things, when the dollars hit the road, it is huge. This may be one of the biggest reasons why hearings were never held on MTS, nor funds budgeted for it.

As a noted leadership expert has stated, 'How do you change relatively successful organizations, which, if they continue to act today the way they acted even five years ago, will undo themselves in the future?'

The next question may be, 'Who will lead this initiative?' Obviously, this question has already been asked and debated at length in the depths of our nation's capital. Was it ever resolved? Has the Coast Guard truly backed away from MTS-ITS leadership because it found it too politically sensitive or because the agency would not receive special funding for it?

What about the Maritime Administration? The MTS National Advisory Council is a great idea for discussing issues at the national level. However, we need something at the local and regional levels to truly keep MTS-ITS alive and provide the means for it to prosper.

I believe the best choice for success would be creating local or regional groups that would include representatives from all agencies. These groups could then provide their joint input and ideas for infrastructure and other improvements directly to the Office of Intermodalism at U.S. Department of Transportation.

Randy Rogers

San Francisco